Falling For Color

Falling For Color

Summer blooms are charming with their pastel shades of peach, pink and cream. But it's the flowers of fall that arouse mature passions as gold, plum, ruby and bronze blossoms unfurl.
This is the season when gardens can look stunning and lush, and anyone who's tempted to pack up the trowel until spring should reconsider, say professional gardeners.
"By the end of summer you've battled the heat, the bugs and watering, and you want to hibernate in the fall. You should come out and garden instead," says Stephanie Cohen, co-author of "Fallscaping" (Storey Publishing, 2007).
"If you go all over to see the glorious color of trees turning red, yellow and gold, why not get the same effect in your garden?" Cohen asks. "Your annuals look absolutely divine in October. Tropical plants look terrific, better than in the summer when it was so hot.”
Once you embrace autumn gardening, you'll find a wonderful variety of flowers to grace your garden. You'll also find bargains as garden centers clear space for winter.
"If you want something that jumps out at you, you're talking about annuals," says Nicholas Staddon, director of new plant introductions for Monrovia, a nursery that supplies plants to garden centers around the country.
Mammoth mums, an annual that's "extra" prolific tops his list. "There's a [mis]conception that mums are tender, but the new varieties are very hardy," says Staddon.
Pansies are another surprising suggestion. One new type, ice pansies, can take frost, he says.
This is also the season when asters explode with bountiful floral displays. Asters aren’t impressive during the summer, but are worth the wait, says Cohen.
Some of summer's most popular annuals, including nasturtium, marigolds, cosmos and flowering tobacco, will thrive now. If you didn't sow the seeds in late June, buy flowering plants.
Grasses with their stunning plumes are a must-have for the fall garden, say Cohen and Staddon.
"Go for grasses showing autumn bronze or reddish autumn colors," says Staddon, who likes Calamagrostis Karl Foerster. "It will stand like a squadron of British soldiers. This is a wonderful display of grass."

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